SOMALI BASIN – Just after 9.00 pm on Mar. 14, Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) warship USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), assigned to CMF’s counter-piracy mission Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, destroyed two skiffs, successfully disrupting the activities of a group suspected of planning acts of piracy.
Lake Champlain’s helicopter was scanning the Arabian Sea for pirate activity when a suspicious dhow was seen some 520 nautical miles south of Masirah, Oman. Initial reports from the helicopter crew stated seeing the dhow towing two unmanned small skiffs, loaded with equipment commonly used by pirates. Lake Champlain was directed to intercept the suspected pirate group and after monitoring the vessels, launched a well-planned operation to destroy the skiffs using sustained fire from the ship’s MK 15 Phalanx close-in weapons system. No fire was directed against the dhow and no one sustained any injury during the operation.
Captain Mark Johnson, commanding officer of Lake Champlain said,
“This disruption to suspected pirate activity is a small but significant step in sending the message that we are here as a credible and capable force, and that we have the resolve to deal with this issue.”
This clearly demonstrates CMF’s determination and commitment to continue the fight against piracy in the region.”
In accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolutions, and in cooperation with non-member forces, CMF’s mission is to disrupt piracy and armed robbery at sea and to engage with regional and other partners to build capacity and improve relevant capabilities in order to protect global maritime commerce and secure freedom of navigation.
CMF is a multi-national naval partnership, which exists to promote security, stability and prosperity across 2.5 million square miles of international waters in the Middle East, which encompass some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.